Make your home environmental friendly while saving money.
Green Construction Techniques
With us you have a construction team based on training and experience with green techniques so we can turn your existing home into a “Green Building home” that’s energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
The green objective is leaving a lighter footprint on the environment through conservation of resources, while at the same time balancing energy-efficient, cost-effective, low-maintenance products for our construction needs. In other words, green building design involves finding the delicate balance between your home and the sustainable environment.
The Right Lot
When building a home or for an existing home we look at the overall lot to take advantage of the natural gifts of sun, wind, soil, water, views and community services, while at the same time reducing the harmful sides of all of those gifts. When our customers shop for lots to erect their dream homes they turn to us for some experienced advice on what it will cost to build on this lot versus others. You could easily save tens of thousands of dollars and many years of aggravation by paying someone for their inexpensive consulting time for this invaluable service. For example, depending solely on your lot, a septic system could cost $5,000 or $50,000 and the same again for a foundation, but once you buy the lot, you’re stuck with the outcome. Ideally, the best view (where you would typically put a back patio or porch) should be to the south. It is easy to design overhangs for good sun control on the south side of the house, since the sun path is high in summer and low in winter. You have limited control on the east and west sides, summer or winter. North views are fine if your climate isn’t too cold and windy in the winter.
Work With Your Climate
(Orientation and Shape): Our architectual landscape designing team will design add trees for shading in the summer (with trees, covered porches, roof overhangs, window awnings) and let the sun in where you want it in the winter. We recommend low-E (emissivity) windows to reduce the harmful effects of the sun in summer, but also retain the heat inside the home in winter (look for the NFRC label to get the performances you want). For a warmer climate, a long rectangle shape with the short ends facing east and west will suffer the least from the hot sun, while a southern exposure will provide lots of light without much heat gain. This shape also works best for cross ventilation. For a colder climate, a squarer, compact shape that holds the heat in and provides the least amount of exterior wall space works best. Two story homes work well for encouraging natural ventilation in which hot air rises from the first floor up the stairway and exhausting out of a skylight or window at the top of the stairway.
Quality and Durability vs. Size
We will construct or add to your existing home the house that’s the right size for your family now or as it increase/decreases in size. Remember, you have to furnish, clean, maintain, heat and cool, and insure the whole house. Our smart design team can make a smaller house feel bigger and bad design can make a big house seem cramped. More size does not necessarily mean more service to the occupants. Having a bit smaller home can allow you to add quality products and practices to your home (like a smaller diamond versus a larger rhinestone).
We will use a high quality “total fill” type of insulation that completely fills the void in your walls (i.e. blown-in fiberglass, cellulose or foam). Foam, caulk and weatherstrip every penetration and crack to avoid air infiltration that compromises the energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality of your home. We will conduct a test “blower door” to see how leaky it is (seek a goal of <0.40 air changes per hour).
40 Year Roof
We will not skimp on your roof. Because failures in it can destroy all that lies below. Install a tile, metal or 40-year composition shingle roof that will ease your fears about deterioration and leaks. Tile and metal can save you energy, can be used safely for rainwater collection, and may also qualify for reduced homeowner insurance.
Solar Heating and Electricity
We will installed the lastest, state of the art solar panels. The panels will be placed in an area that will harness the most of the sun’s rays during the daylight hours. In some case’s home owner have put electricity back into our nations power grid getting a check from their local utility company.
We will design and place windows for good cross ventilation, taking full advantage of prevailing breezes. Plan for windows on two sides of a room whenever possible. We will incorporate ceiling fans to move air and consider a “whole house” fan as well.
We will install a high-efficiency (13 SEER, 90% AFUE) and computer calculated “right-sized” equipment (ask for an ACCA Manual J calculation) based on the design, construction, and orientation of your house. If your equipment is oversized, you will be buying more than you need, it will be noisier, and it won’t stay on long enough per cycle to run efficiently. During humid times, it won’t have time to dehumidify the air. We will make sure duct runs are as short and straight as possible and ducts are sealed airtight with mastic (not duct tape). We will have your ducts professionally pressure-tested and seek a goal of under 10% leakage (nationally on average, ducts leak 30%). Install a pleated-media filter (rated at MERV 6-12) to help the equipment last longer and improve indoor air quality for the occupants.
Indoor Air Quality
We recommend Installing hard surface flooring (wood, cork, concrete, tile, linoleum) as much as possible. They are durable, easy to clean and won’t harbor mold, dust, dust mites, and other allergens. We suggest to minimize carpet(s) (because it holds the allergens and off gasses chemicals) and vinyl products (because they off-gas chemicals). We recommend low or no-VOC interior paints and finishes (under 150 grams/liter). If no exhaust fans are present in the bathrooms we will install the exhaust fans to evacuate odors and humidity. We can keep fresh air coming into your home the utilization of windows, whole house fan or with a mechanical ventilation system.
Energy Efficient Appliances
We will install ENERGY STAR® labeled products such as light bulbs, refrigerators, dishwasher, clothes washer, fans, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, home electronics, office equipment, etc.
Energy Efficient Lighting
We will install compact fluorescent lights, motion sensors, daylight sensors, dimmers whenever possible to reduce energy use. When using recessed can lights We recommend the use of only the IC-AT type. Ask us about the different types of lights (incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, metal halide, sodium) how to use them for different purposes (ambient, task, spot and security lighting).
We’ll install state of the art water-conserving appliances (dishwasher, clothes washer, on-demand water heater) and plumbing fixtures (shower heads, toilets, faucets, re-circulation systems, etc). Use efficient irrigation systems (drip irrigation and rain/moisture sensors) and use native plants that require very little watering.
Durable and Low Maintenance Exteriors
If needed we will install durable siding materials such as fiber-cement siding to eliminate rot and reduce the need for painting. Use wood/plastic composite deck materials to reduce the need for the annual resealing.
We will utilize the use trees and shrubs for shading, cooling, oxygen, wind protection, noise reduction, and privacy. Keep plants away from the home’s foundation and plant them with space to grow to maturity. Choose plants that are native or well adapted in your area. Plant turf grass varieties that need the least amount of water, and are best for the amount of sun they will get. Make sure landscaping has plenty of topsoil and organic mulch. All of these practices will also reduce your need for fertilizers and pesticides that can harm your family and pets, and our waterways.
Rainwater Collection / Lawn Sprinkler System
We will install a catch basin system which will store water for watering your lawn and plants.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle:
All of the items we remove from your home will be recycled (wood floors, doors, etc
We can do all or part of any of the items described.